Yesterday I got to see the film Julie & Julia, you know the one where Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and Amy Adams portrays the blogger who cooked her way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
The film draws both on blogger/writer Julie Powell's memoir "Julie & Julia" as well as Julia Child's memoir "My Life in France." (Both books are fascinating--I think.)
What does this have to do with food allergies? Well, on the surface, nothing. But the movie shows how much an attitude towards food can influence our lives.
While I watched the film I couldn't help but think that it glorified cooking as a means of expressing love and enjoying life. These are not new concepts but for those of us dealing with food allergies, this is an important message.
Being aware of cross-contact or checking labels constantly, not to mention ever-present restaurant dangers can really take the fun out of eating. But we really shouldn't let that happen. As parents or caregivers of allergic kids (or as allergic adults ourselves) we are forced to become familiar with ingredients and we are also called upon to be home cooks and bakers.
This can feel like a burden or like too much work, but as the film Julie & Julia shows, you can view this another, more positive, way. When you feed your body well and embrace food as a means of showing love, you embrace life. Just think of the cakes you've baked for your kids or the allergy-free but delicious meals you've created for your families or yourselves. Even if you aren't the best cook or baker in the world, creating food for your family shows them you care.
Having food allergies doesn't mean you don't love food. In fact, having severe food allergies makes you more conscious of food than you may have been otherwise. And in our fast-moving culture, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Making our own food forces us to slow down and savor.
Watch Julie & Julia and you'll realize that this is a gift. Each meal you prepare can be a present you give to your family or to yourself.